Abandoned Love is one of Dylan's major songs - it's major major. Some Dylanologist friends of mine once came up with a method of listing Dylan's songs in four categories of importance - major-major / which would be, for example, "Blowin' in the Wind," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Blind Willie McTell."
Major-minor would be undeniably great songs that fell just short of the top tier rank - "Stuck Inside of Mobile," "When the Ship Comes In," "My Back Pages." Next comes minor -major, which are songs that don't quite make the major category -"Million Miles," "All I Really Want to Do," "Unbelievable," and the last are minor-minor, "Wiggle Wiggle," "Man Gave Names to All the Animals."
This categorization of Dylan songs is a game where nothing is ever finally decided, except for certain major-major songs. In the minor-minor category, someone will inevitably insist that the song is minor-major, but such is the sutff of Dylan fans. For most of the rest, it's all gray area, with endless discussions and reasons why one is more major or minor than another. That's the fun of it, or it might become a heated parlor game, depending on the fervor of the participants.
Abandoned Love was never released on a Dylan album until in came out on the collection Biograph. Dylan has often displayed a kind of perversity in leaving his best songs off records - the above mentioned "Blind Willie McTell" being a case in point. Dylan had recorded "Abandoned Love" when he was making Desire, in 1976, and left it off the album in favor of "Joey," the turgid, historically slanted tale of gangster Joey Gallo. ("Why did they have to come and blow you away?" ... well, because he's a gangster, Bob?) Like I said, a blind-spot for the ever-mercurial Dylan. "Abandoned Love" would have raised Desire into the ranks of a great album, a much worthier follow-up to Blood on the Tracks.
"Abandoned Love" has been covered by The Everly brothers, George Harrison, and Barb Junger. David Moore's version of "Abandoned Love"
off the Doghouse Records compilation of Dylan covers, Paupers, Peasants, Princes and Kings, is perfectly sung and played, with open-tuned guitar voicings, tasteful bass and drums, and Moore's gruf, soulful voice, which captures the beauty of the complex lyrics and the yearning for a love that
the singer is about to leave behind.
One more time at midnight, near the wall
Take off your heavy makeup and your shawl.
Won’t you descend from the throne, from where you sit?
Let me feel your love one more time before I abandon it.